Tuesday, December 05, 2006

I Understand and Hopefully, You do too

I didn't get invited to the meeting the postcard below invites folks to. I understand and hopefully, you will understand, too.

Our Community Advisory Committee was told by Mr. Bisno and several of his representatives that we would be welcome at meetings of three of his advisory groups. I am comfortable with that and I am looking forward to learning from these concerned folks.

But sometimes, there are groups that need to work in private to achieve goals and accomplish tasks. I appears that one such meeting was scheduled to be held on Tuesday evening.

When I received this (blocked name and address) card, I wondered if this would be a group CAC members might get a chance to sit in with and learn from. I called the trailer and was informed that I, as a committee member was not invited to this gathering. I am not a prospective buyer of anything built at Ponte Vista, so it is fine with me that I shouldn't attend.

Click on the card and it grows!

Supporters of Mr. Bisno's plans to build 2,300 homes at Ponte Vista need the opportunity to create strategy to combat the opposition to building the project as it is currently planned.

In fact, I feel they have the obligation, duty, responsibility, and charge to prove that the configuration of the project, as it is currently planned, be proven to be in the best interest of everyone in San Pedro and eastern Rancho Palos Verdes.

I suppose many of the members of the three other advisory groups supporting Mr. Bisno's plans would attend a meeting described by the card.

Folks who call for maintaining the current zoning of the property also have groups formed for making strategy. I personally know of two groups that are opposed to Mr. Bisno's plans to build 2,300 homes at Ponte Vista. Northwest San Pedro Neighborhood Council and Coastal San Pedro Neighborhood Council have both gone on record opposing Mr. Bisno's current plans. There are probably Homeowners' Associations that have publicly proclaimed their opposition, but I haven't read any writings from them. (Please let me know if there are any)

Several Chambers of Commerce have gone on record supporting Mr. Bisno's plans, and Jack Baric gave a clear explanation as to why there has not been a finding of support or opposition to the Ponte Vista at San Pedro plans, as of last Thursday.

The Community Advisory Committee was instructed by our Facilitator that we were supposed to be like a jury in that, we are charged to represent the public and make recommendations that will provide the best results for the area. Our "findings" will be recommendations that we will give to Ms. Hahn, the Planning Department, and the public. We use many forms of deliberation, one being the Community Advisory Meetings that are held almost monthly.

Mr. Bisno and his supporters are, in my opinion the Plaintiffs in the "trial" of the proposal. Opponents of Mr. Bisno's vision, most notibly, the "R1" or "R-1" contingent, are the defenders, seeking to maintain the current zoning of the site. There are still a good number of folks that don't want any housing built on the 61.53 acres. These folks are really going to have an uphill battle to get their wishes adopted.

The end result of the "trial" will not come from the public, Mr. Bisno, or even the opponents. The real jury will be the fifteen members of the L.A. City Council based on "arguments" supplied in the form of an Environmental Impact Report, approved by and sent forward by the L.A. City Planning Department and the members of the L.A. City Planning Commission.

Mr. Bisno, his organization, and his supporters, need to win over the opinions of as many people as possible, just like the opponents need to do. The onus of proof should probably be on the shoulders of the proponents of 2,300 homes. The implementation of approved plans for a community of this size will forever change the landscape and the texture of the area and the region, in my opinion.

Mr. Bisno and I have written back and forth to each other. I find him very willing to communicate and be as respectful as he can, knowing my opinion of his current plans.

I am very encouraged that I am receiving some support from some folks in looking more closely at the hybrid scenario. For supporters and opponents, the hybrid scenario begins with 1,500 homes, 50% senior housing or 750, age-restricted homes, and 50% other or 750, non-age restricted homes. It is with conversations, comments, and a few private writings that I think supporters and some opponents might be able to come together start thinking; Compromise.

Mr. Bisno SEEMS encouraged by the support within the community for more senior housing, I think! Could it be that 750 homes for seniors are better than 575 units? Maybe this is a place where folks can stop yelling at each other and find a calmer realm to consider in.

Recently I have received comments on another post that I didn't help replying with, using rather disrespectful wording. For that I don't apologize. There is an Anonymous person who thinks folks living in San Pedro don't know anything about traffic. I had to respond in a mean-spirited way because that person has absolutely no clue. I guess he has never worked on the docks, dodging trucks, cranes, containers, and every other hazard down there. He certainly didn't know that I have spent the last 26 years driving in the very same areas he thinks there are traffic issues. For anyone to comment that we don't know about traffic, lend me to believe that this fellow doesn't think any of you commute to your jobs, or ever venture north of P.C.H!
How dare him!

It is true, Anonymous 9:12 AM that many, many years ago, for real San Pedrans, the earth did break off at Pacific Coast Highway. But those days are so long gone.

I also gave "tom" two postings that I copied from his comments. He has not identified himself as a supporter of Mr. Bisno's plans, and I won't call him a "supporter", but his writings SEEM to fall in line with Mr. Bisno's vision, and the figures he provides are only from the DEIR and not independent calculations.

Tom is partially correct about my impartiality. I have written, and will continue to write that I am as impartial as I can be. Am I completely impartial? Can you honestly say you are after reading these very long posts? If you claim to be impartial, and want to write a post based on your impartiality, please submit it to me. My Email address is at the top of the post.

Tom is also correct that I am not an engineer, statistician, college-trained anthropologist, or have any other formal training that would qualify me as an expert in anything other than communications. But that doesn't mean I can't or shouldn't comment on a proposal that will change my life and the lives of everyone in the area within 3 miles of Ponte Vista? And if any of the rest of you are not experts too, does that mean you shouldn't comment on what will change your life as well? Even if it means you get to live in senior housing at Ponte Vista, your opinion should count.

Yes, I do challenge facts and figures published in the DEIR. I think you should too. How many folks producing or approving the DEIR live in our area or really know (or care) what happens here.

The point with that last paragraph is to continue my request that supporters are welcome to post their feelings, calculations, reasoning, and support for Mr. Bisno's plans. "Supporters" are also welcome to write about alternatives to the plan, quoted by a member of the City Planning Department as "the worst case".

This blog openly offers to publish views that I don't necessarily agree with. It is not http://www.pontevista.com/ which is produced by the developer for the maximum benefit of the development and folks who are interested in learning more subjectively, or are interested in buying a home. This blog is also not Life on the Edge at http://www.laharbor.blogspot.com/, which offers almost total and vibrant opposition to the current plans at Ponte Vista. I continue to try and provide somewhat of a middle ground where both supporters and folks in opposition can come, read ridiculously long posts and comments, and find the most independent information created locally for a local readership.

I am at a point where I can argue either for 2,300 homes, R1 zoning, the hybrid scenario, or other alternatives just about as well as any supporter or detractor can. I know all the reasoning, all the debates, all the (supposed) numbers. But I also feel I know what is best for myself, my wife, my neighbors, and my community. If you can't appreciate anything I write on this blog, I really encourage you to create your own blog or Web site giving your take on the happenings. Mr. Bisno, Calamari, Banditos Yanquis, and I shouldn't be the only ones debating this very important issue with our own sites and blogs.


tom said...


I like your analogy of the Advisory Committee being like a jury. However I feel this concept is not being taken far enough.

I am criticized (by others) as being a Bisno supporter, and you (understandably) have your doubts; since it could be taken from my posts that I am in support of the developer.

Actually I am in support of the community. We have been given an opportunity to give our input into a project that is going to happen, like it or not. What we do in the next months via input to the Advisory Committee is key to what ultimately gets built and how "community-friendly" it is. But we aren't going to get there by continuing to go off on tangents.

You do your homework. You work very hard at it. I might not agree with your numbers, or your conclusions, but you work at it and I have to respect that. But some of these people who come into meetings and ask questions that have already been answered, or are written in the DEIR are crazy-making. As is that lady who wouldn't give up the mic because she was "special" and deserved more than the 3 minutes everyone else got; because she was not finished with her ranting yet.

It is stuff like this that has to stop. That is if you want the committee to be taken seriously.

You've asked a few times now about my opinion on the "hybrid" scenario. I have tried to avoid it because it is discussing an option which is not on the table. After the inclusion of the hybrid scenario at the meeting on November 9, there was a lot of uproar over making Bisno cleanse all future documents from referring to it. How can you discuss something with the Planning Department that they have banned?

Personally, I would love to see a much higher percentage of whatever is built be senior housing. If somehow through the Advisory Committee we could turn the Ponte Vista project into the Leisure World of the South Bay, it would be fantastic. Seniors create less traffic, have more disposable income and create more jobs.

So now you have what I think, not that it matters since no one listens to me anyway. Less units, higher percentage seniors.

If that is what you think works also, then keep the Committee focused and on point. These rants by people both on the Committee and the public do nothing towards getting us all down the road. Everything which was said during the public comments section of this last meeting should have been saved for your upcoming public forums. The endless reiterations of yet another reason why people hate Ponte Vista just gets too much, uses up everyone's time, and at the end nothing has been accomplished.

Can you understand where I am coming from?

M Richards said...


Thank you, thank you, thank you!

We have both come together on some points and I really appreciate your comments!

I talked directly with a rep from the Planning Department. I asked him if he knew that there was a rumor going around that the P.D. was attempting to squash discussion about the hybrid scenario, and how I thought that was a very bad idea for everyone.
He explained to me that discussing the hybrid scenario could be done by anybody and everybody if that is what peopled wanted to talk about. He explained that since the total numbers of units would be fewer in the hybrid scenario than the original proposal, the DEIR would, most likely, not have to be amended much at all, if any. Mr. Bisno would probably need to replace his current application with a new one dealing with the fewer number of homes and the obvious lessening of density.
According to the P.D. rep, it is not unheard of to change plans once submitted to the Planning Department in DEIR form, especially if the plans call for downsizing the buildings and increasing open spaces.

In speaking with two members of the Planning Department, it is a misconception on a very many peoples' mind that discussing alternatives such as the hybrid scenario is not "banned" at all. I even know one particular individual that suggested to me that it was a good thing to talk about feasible alternatives that, perhaps, many people can get behind.

I know you have been criticised by many as being a "Bisno Supporter." Another bit of humor, if I may...
I was even called a "Bisno Supporter" by a clever person who hadn't, at the time, shared comments between the two of us.

I think that folks who blindly accept the DEIR's "facts" and figures, and also support the building of 2,300 homes at Ponte Vista, without regard for possible, reasonable, realistic, responsible, and respectful alternatives, should be labeled "supporters" because they only see what is told they should see, speak using "talking points" and fall behind Mr. Bisno's current proposal, lock, stock, and barrel.

In your comment, you have indicated that you would like to talk about some other ideas for the site, including a very expanded senior housing portion, and that doesn't sound like a "supporter" to be.

It is certainly apparent that during Committee meetings, I am not shy about asking questions. I think if you listen to me as opposed to several other "not shy" members, I hope you see that my questions are, at least, trying to get straight answers to straight questions, without imposing my personal beliefs on the issue.

Sure, listening closely, you can understand my "bent" by the questions I ask. But I try to avoid the almost blatant attacks on Mr. Bisno's proposal.

I wrote in other posts that during the November 9 meeting I was concerned that only one true supporter got up to address the committee and she spoke for the entire group of supporters. While I applaud the gesture of trying to end the meeting on the earliest time possible, I wished I had heard from more "supporters" or folks like yourself that may like the idea of condominuims and townhomes, but not necessarily in the numbers Mr. Bisno proposes.

During the last several meetings, the largest number of speakers were in opposition to Mr. Bisno's plans. I think we all can agree that hearing from a large number from one side of the issue, while having limited comments from folks who support the plan, is not in the best interest of the Committee or the community on the whole.

On January 18, there is a Community Forum planned where committee members don't discuss things. We should just listen to anyone and everyone on every side of the issues surrounding Ponte Vista. I hope we get a good cross section of supporters, dissenters, and folks who really want to see an alternative.

Tom, if you think you are't being "listened to" or read, I'm sure you still bristle at all the Anonymouses that attack you and challenge you. I think both of our skins have thickened up recently.

I appreciate your comments even more than most of the comments I might agree too much with. You have presented debate which keeps us both interested in finding a resolution that best fits our community. You are unafraid to challenge me and you have answered many of my questions openly.

I think you would be a great contributor even as an Anonymous if you create and submit a post that explains, as passionately as you write your comments, what you would like to see in Ponte Vista, and why.

I have had some thinking time concerning an "all seniors" development. With the artist's conceptual drawings that I like so much, I actually could talk up a development somewhat similar to Leisure World.

Anonymous 9:12 AM couldn't have known that I used to do telephone jobs at L.W., Laguna Hills, and I have a great friend at L.W. Seal Beach. My Telephone garage was in Tustin at the time and I used to have to drive through the El Toro "Y" several times a day in my truck and van. Of course, I also commuted between San Bernardino and Tustin every day before I commuted between Simi Valley and Tustin for a time. I guess Anonymous 9:12 AM still think we San Pedrans don't know about traffic!

Tom, I am glad we agree to disagree and now seem to be able to do it so much better. I know we both feel we are doing our best for the community we live in and have loved for so many years.

Keep up the fight on your end, and I will keep up the fight on my end and hopefully we can find peace in a plan we both can agree on

Anonymous said...

wow, maybe the shiites and the sunnis need to take a lesson from you guys. as rodney king said, "can't we all just get along?"

Anonymous said...

Oh my God, I think I'm going to puke! What happened to R1 is R1??? The guy bought land knowing full well what the zoning was and what his options were for development. Compromise? For what? Tom is just a businessman that wants to profit from the increased population and traffic, plain and simple. I could have called that one before he revealed himself.

mellonhead said...

DITTO ANONYMOUS 8:00AM. Also, that postcard is a giant load of manure too. No one forced Bisno to overbid the property and put himself in this situation. Does anyone know someone who would pay $2M for a house at the "Ponte Vista" location. Let's keep it real please.

tom said...

Anonymous 8:00AM and mellonhead prove my point. People have selective listening. I guess they did not hear Bisno say as clear as day that he would not build single-family houses at the site.

We can go ahead and stymie him. Bring Ponte Vista to a halt. And then we'll pay the price later when he sells off the land piece by piece. Smaller developers will buy it up and we'll be left with a whole bunch of small projects which produce more units, more people and more traffic.

So go ahead and stick to your R-1 guns despite Hahn and the Planning Department already saying it won't be R-1. Not as dense a Bisno wants, but not R-1. Go ahead and hold your breath until you turn blue to prove your point. You are just cutting yourself out of any input into what winds up being built.

But maybe instead you could think of some ways to make it more friendly to what your vision of San Pedro.

mellonhead said...

Tom, keep re-reading my post. Sooner or later you might understand what I said. Good luck.

tom said...

Well Mark, it seems there are zealots on both sides of this issue. If you don't agree withthem 100%, they view you as the enemy. So despite my agreeing with mellonhead that there was probably not a market for $2 million++ homes, so therefore they would not be built (that's "keeping it real" isn't it?) he still turns around and responds to me like I'm the idiot-child.

As far as the post card being a load of manure, well that's his good right to voice his opinion and hold a meeting if he wants. Why mellonhead has to get his panties all in a wad over it I don't understand.

And it is just as obvious that Anonymous 8:00AM doesn't feel like any compromise either. Just because I happen to have a business doesn't mean I want to ruin the town. Not everyone is about money.

Well, the best thing to do is put them in the same category with the traffic idiot Anonymous 9:12AM and tune them out.

mellonhead said...

The card is manure (that would be of the horse or bull) because it says the R-1 proponents want to build $2,000,000 houses on the property. I want single-family houses built and sold at the market rate.This is what the 1998-1999 San Pedro Re-Use Committee wanted if the UCLA REI project fell through.BTW Tom, cheap ad hominem attacks don't phase me.

M Richards said...

Howdy folks,

It seems to me if there is no compromise, then there will be either 2,300 homes or continued R1 zoning.

If folks can't seem to compromise, then perhaps we should continue the current zoning that was established by the government that adopted the zoning in the first place.

Tom, Mr. Bisno and many others know that I support maintain the current zoning of the property. If, as Tom suggests, Mr. Bisno were to sell off the property into smaller pieces, then the buyers would also probably be allowed to build homes under the current zoning.

I have finally decided to write a post in the very near future that I feel will explain my reasoning. I don't expect any supporter of Mr. Bisno to agree with it, and I will face criticism, for sure.

I would like folks to respectfully explain why they believe the way they do, instead of attacking opponents who differ from thier position.

I have no idea if anyone would like to buy a single-family home at Ponte Vista. I categorically reject any claim that the minimum price of a home there would be $2,000,000.00. I haven't seen calculations that folks who claim that as a minimum price, can site for backing up that claim.

I'm sorry Tom, I plead ignorance to the source of your claim that Ms. Hahn doesn't believe R1 housing should be built at Ponte Vista. If you could please supply me with the source, I will gladly publish it.

As to the claim the Planning Department won't allow R1 housing at Ponte Vista, I haven't seen any documentation to support that claim, either. In fact, the DEIR has, as it's first alternative, keeping the property R1. Tom was correct in pointing out that, even though the DEIR was not written by the Planning Department, that group had approval rights before it was published. Since the R1 alternative did pass muster with the Planning Department, then I contend that they must have included it as perhaps, a reasonable alternative to Mr. Bisno's plans, which the P.D. also approved publication of.

Rather than attacking folks who we dramatically disagree with, I hope we can positively communicate our positions so that each side understands where their opponents are coming from.

Now for supporters of Mr. Bisno, supporters of maintaing R1 zoning, and everyone in between, may I end this comment with a direct quote from Mr. Robert H. Bisno, in his personal letter to me. I would like everyone of us to read the words, read between the lines, if you wish, but please try to understand that this quote is something that is very interesting.

"Regarding a compromise as to what is developed, I hope we both agree, Ponte Vista should reflect principled compromises, where facts, not fear and fiction are the driving forces"
Robert H. Bisno, December 4, 2006

mellonhead said...


tom said...


You've spoken to Bisno several times. I would guess you have as good of an idea of him as anyone. Do you think he would build 500 homes and sell them at a loss? If you take the amount he paid for the land, approx. $82 million, and divide it by 500, that comes to $1,640,000 for the land alone. Then add in the cost of construction ($400-$500 per sq.ft.) and you get to $2 million++ very quickly.

As far as R-1, perhaps I did not say it clearly. I did not mean to say that Janice Hahn or the Planning Department had said R-1 would not be allowed. And of course neither of them has put their position into writing. But what I have heard Janice say in different meetings, and the same for Gail Goldberg and Betsy (?) [sorry, my Alzheimer's just kicked in and I can't remember her last name] is that while they oppose the number of units Bisno wants to build, in order to do anything close to what he is proposing would require a change. Remember, a Specific Plan is not a zoning per se but rather a mish-mash of different classifications. For example to have a the 10,000 sq.ft. of retail they propose would necessitate a change from R-1 to include commercial. For the rest of the housing units they could go R-3, but it would require so many variances that the application for variances would be thicker than the DEIR. So even if the "hybrid scenario" you seem partial to, or the Leisure World plan I could envision, would require something other than R-1; namely a Specific Plan.

This is also the basis on which we see different scenarios if Bisno sells the property piecemeal. By already looking at a Specific Plan and indicating it is a possibility, the Planning Department and Janice Hahn have lost. There won't be 10 small projects coming on-line all at the same time. They will be spaced out enough that none of them by themselves will draw enough attention to prevent them.


An ad hominem attack was not intended. But as you stated you wanted to puke over what I wrote and then told me to re-read your post as if I were too stupid to understand, what did you expect? However, I'm glad it doesn't phase you and you have a thick skin also.

Let me ask you, given the numbers I roughed out in the previous paragraph, what exactly do you think "market price" is anyway?

As far as "manure" goes, when have you ever seen any marketing material by any developer that didn't smell like a barnyard?

tom said...

I knew I saw it somewhere in this blog. Saturday December 2, 2006 from Comments to your post. So I'm not completely nuts (yet). Janice Hahn HAS equivocated on what is going to happen. Now there is a surprise - a politician being murky.

Anonymous said...
1. Janice Hahn quotes, chronologically:

7-13-05: "I will not be supportive of 2,300 units," Hahn said. "I'm in talks with him now and hope that this will be a much scaled-down project by the time we get through the EIR process."

10-5-05: "I don't think 2,300 units is a good idea for San Pedro," said Los Angeles City Councilwoman Janice Hahn. "Traffic has always been bad on Western Avenue and the schools already are crowded. They're going to have to scale that down a lot."

6-2-06: "I will tell you right now I'm not convinced that 2,300 homes is something that we can absorb, particularly on Western Avenue," Hahn said.


**Councilwoman appears to be firmly against 2300, but does she support R-1 ???
9:40 AM
M Richards said...
Thank you anonymous 9:40

You posed a great question.

Here is my question;

Could the hybrid scenario be the point where the developer and government officials begin to compromise?
10:15 AM

M Richards said...

I am afraid, mellonhead, that you have probably not read enough of my blog before you wrote that you feel I might be a victim of a s-n-o-w-j-o-b.

Did you happen to read my comment I made to Anonymous 9:12 AM? I can be nice, polite, respectful, reasonable, responsible, and realistic when I choose to be. Or, I can go another route.

I choose the calmer, nicer approach to deal with folks who attack me or my writings, most of the time.

You would be very incorrect if you thought I was either throwing or receiving a s-n-o-w-j-o-b.

I challenge you and everyone else to come up with sourced details for what you believe and why you believe it. Sure you could continue attacking, name-calling and trying to demean others, but that seems to be akin to a fool's tatic to argue a point without regard to facts, and the data to back it up.

If folks want to avoid responsible debate and resort to name-calling and demeaning others points of view without using learned analysis, then perhaps they should start their own blog where they can spew venom all they want.

I already have to contend with a person who claims folks like me are "ranting elitists" and he has thousands of "supporters" who probably think the same way as he does.

Citizens who, like me and hopefully mellonhead, want the site to remain R1 should NOT lower ourselves to the standards of people who call us "ranting elitists." We should be better than that. Let us not stoop to their level.

tom said...


Sure it's a snowjob. but what do you expect from a developer? We know exactly where he is coming from. He wants to make lots of $$$$. Less clear is where our elected officials, who are supposed to be looking out for us, stand.

Anonymous said...

You need a new calculator... 82,000,000 / 500 = 164,000. I think there's still profit in there for 'ol Bobby. Now why does he have to get $2M per home?

tom said...

Oh s*@t! Sorry, you're right. It's not the calculator, it's my brain. I told you I was having an Alzheimer's moment! Maybe mellonhead was right after all about my having to re-read things! hahaha!

But it still isn't that simple. Construction costs of a 2,500 sq.ft. home would be $1.25 million. Add in the land and intangible expenses of permitting, landscaping, general project improvement costs, mitigation costs of any EIR, etc. and you get to $1.5 million as hard cost pretty quick. Do you know any developer who's going to sell at break-even? I know I don't. So we are still at $2 million, although I did it ass-backwards. Thanks for pointing out my embarrassing mistake.

mellonhead said...

This thread is red hot tonight. YEAH! at 646PM I asked "S-N-O-W-J-O-B..? in reference to Mark's Bisno quote. Mark misunderstood and got pissed at me. Then Tom at 716pm came in and saved me. Thanks Tom. I read all of the blog everyday. I see it's easy to cause a misunderstanding if one doesn't spell out completely what one is thinking.

Anonymous said...

I have to respectfully disagree with your numbers again. $500 per sq ft is a bit high. You are telling me that it would cost $500,000 to build a 1000 sq ft dinky house? I know people who have built beautiful homes in Pedro for nearly half that. Believe me, Bob will build R1 homes if that is all that's left on the table, and he WILL make a profit. He said he will not build R1 homes only to not show weakness to the R1 supporters. That boy knows how to play the game, and he is working it. Bob Bisno is waging war on alot of different fronts. You can't give in to a money hungry ------- like him.
I know this sounds like hateful blathering with no facts and data, but we have to take a hard stand. The R1 supporters should not even be uttering compromise. This is exactly what he wants.

M Richards said...

Sorry, mellonhead. It looks like I did a dumb-dumb.

Tom, Mr. Bisno paid $122,000,000.00 for 61.53 total acres at the Ponte Vista site.
He did win the bid for approximately 42.5 acres for the $82,000,000.00. He then bought the remaining land from VOA to total the acreage and price.

The DEIR mentioned that building costs were estimated to be about $817,000,000.00, not counting the $122,000,000.00 that he paid for the land. Let's say he spends another 10 million dollars on costs associated with what he has been funding so far, and what he funds until the EIR is sent to the Planning Department and Planning Commission. That gives be a very rough ballpark estimate of at least $949,000,000.00 to acquire, market, and build a 2,300 home development at Ponte Vista.

As I wrote in a privious post, if the median price for a home at Ponte Vista is $475,000.00 then the income produced would be approximately $1,092,500,000.00

Let's pretend that he sells his homes for the total price listed above. He then incurs the cost of what is written higher in this comment. Wouldn't the income minus the cost be the profit?

Is is reasonable to speculate that Mr. Bisno and his organization might profit to the tune of, perhaps, $143,500,000.00.

Is that profit resonable at the expense of the population of eastern Rancho Palos Verdes and Northwest San Pedro?

Now Tom, mellonhead and others, let's have a math challenge, O.K.?

Me first.

The DEIR claims that the cost to build Ponte Vista at San Pedro as a 2,300 home development was set at $817,000,000.00, if I remember correctly. This figure does not include the price of the land.

With me so far?

I used a calculator on my P.C. because I was calculating long numbers and I thought to divide 817 million by 2,300. That should be equal to the cost of developmening 492 single-family homes if that cost were approximately $174,766,956.52 per home.

Now we have to add the constant land price of $122,000,000.00 to the 174+ million and I got a figure of $296,766,956 for the total cost of developing 492 homes.

I want to be a bit generous and allow the total costs of developing as community of single-family homes to be $325,000,000.00.

Then I divided that number by 492 and got a per unit cost of development at $660,569.105.

Now let me ponder that perhaps the actual cost of providing each and every home in that R1 development was as much as $775,000.00 per home.

Where, oh where does anybody come up with a $2,000,000.00 home unles you allow the developer a profit per unit of $1,225,000.00

Even if one doubles the cost price of each home for the sales price, the median priced home would be about 1.5 million dollars. And even that would give the developer a profit of $381,300,000.00.

I could speculate that it would cost the developer 1.25 million dollars to produce each of the 492 homes. If he did, in fact, sell them for an average price of 2 million dollars, he would profit from the sales to the tune of $369,000,000.00

So, if R1 remains at Ponte Vista, Mr. Bisno would make a profit and it would be an outrageous profit if he did charge 2 million dollars for each home.

Tom, using your costs/price of 1.5 million for cost and 2.0 million for price, that would give up a profit of $246,000,000.00. That doesn't look like break even to me.
How about selling the houses for 1.75 million? That would leave a profit of only $123,000,000.00
Is that "tiny" profit worth what we have already gone through and will continue to go through in the future?

mellonhead, Tom and I worked on our calculators. It's your turn.
Have fun with the numbers. No matter what you support, the figures are staggering.

It looks like Mr. Bisno could actually receive a larger profit if he built only single-family homes. Just like the traffic will get better if he builds 2,300 homes. Nobody really knows.

Thanks guys, this was fun...finally.

Kris said...

Wow, I can't keep up you guys type faster than I can read. I too am glad there is another logical thinker like Tom contributing to this Blog. Thank you.

Mark, is Bisno aware of your Blog? It would be great if he read and responded once in a while.

mellonhead said...

Kris, don't forget me, I'm a logical thinker too. Don't you think?

Kris said...

Im still holding out hope for you mellonhead.

M Richards said...

Howdy Tom, Mellonhead, Kris, and all the Anons.

Kris knows about this blog. I have been told some members of his organization read the posts and comments. I am sure Mr. Bisno and his staff pay close attention to folks on the "other side".

Mr. Bisno paid a court reporter to record all the happenings at several of the L.A.U.S.D. meetings concerning the SRHS #14 proposal.

I would expect Mr. Bisno's organization keeps tabs on all the groups that have openly announced their opposition to building 2,300 homes at Ponte Vista. It is within his right to attend public meetings of any kind and he has the onus to prove that the zoning should be changed from its current type to a different zoning plan that would allow for the development he envisions. Simply put, (if I ever do anything of the kind) he needs to know about all sides so he can make strategies favoring his position.

I doubt Mr. Bisno would personnaly respond, using his name to anything on this blog. If he were to do that, it would legitimize this blog as a source of information and opinions that are in opposition to Mr. Bisno's plans. Mr. Bisno needs to adhere to the idea that this blog is nothing more than a series of "rants", disrespectful opinions, and unproved facts, so he can claim that is written and commented on by a bunch of "ranting elitists."

News for my regular readers.

I was interviewed for an article that may be published this Saturday in "More San Pedro". The article is about this blog and was written by Mr. Dennis Lim shortly before he left The Daily Breeze.

I have no idea what will be included in the article or whether it will ever be published. The outcome of the article could mean the end of my service on the Community Advisory Committee and I thought for a long time whether I should be interviewed for the article or not.

I hope to remain on the Committee if and after the article is published, but it won't be up to me to make that decision. No matter what, this blog will continue and I would expect the readership to the posts and our comments will be read by more people.

I feel that there a solid number of regular readers and several folks who wish to be partially identified and are willing to give their opinions and facts. I suspect those of us who contribute posts and comments will have a larger audience to try to sway in the direction each of us have. So loosen up those typing fingers and dust off you fact sheets, because you may be read by a larger number of folks, soon.

I really appreciated the comments from Tom, Mellonhead, and Kris, to this post. I think we are beginning to have a real debate and not just a name-calling game. Real debate will lead all of us toward finding the best result for our entire community.

I am going to wait until Saturday afternoon before writing another post. If the article appears, then we will need to post and comment to our new readers, our opinions about the project. Because Tom and Kris provide valuable input and are not as supportive of R1 zoning as myself and (I suspect) Mellonhead, we will have the opportunity to provide real debate to our new readers.

I feel the ever-illusive "Banditos Yanquis", whoever he/she is, will also spike up the debate on this blog and Life on the Edge, too.

I did a first draft of "Why I support R1 Zoning at Ponte Vista". It was seven single-spaced pages long and requires a great deal of editing even before I give it to my wife (UCLA English Department Graduate) for editing.

I would love to see postings from Tom, Kris, Mellonhead, and anyone else who would like to post their own "Why I support ??? at Ponte Vista". That way we can attract supporters to whatever position the post contributor has, or explain why we feel what we feel. I will not attempt to attract anyone to my side of the fence because I am in a different position that most of the readers are, and I should provide expainations to everyone because I have taken the opportunity to create this blog.

The Community Advisory Committe members, Mr. Bisno and members of his staff, L.A. City Government and Planning folks are scheduled to take our second tour of residential sites, this Saturday.

The CAC specifically asked to be taken on a tour of R1, single-family detached homes, along with other types of residential developments. There are no current plans to provide a tour of those types of developments. The closest we are scheduled to tour are single-family "Patio" or "Courtyard" homes with a housing density greater than nine homes per acre.

I suspect some members of the Committee will scoff at this rebuke of our request. But to me, it gives me the chance to tour and make comments on POSSIBLE, realistic alternatives to 2,300 homes. While I continue to believe that the current zoning within Ponte Vista be maintained, I have drafted some requirements that, if met by the developer, may allow me to further discuss reasonable, realistic, responsible, and respectful alternatives to 2,300 homes. Please remember that I have mentioned the hybrid alternative in both written and verbal comments.

During this lull in posting, I will be writing my second letter to Mr. Jonathan Riker. Please remember that you have until January 30, 2007 to submit your comments to the L.A. City Planning Department for review and eventual printing in the final Environmental Impact Report.

Any of you can submit a post on anything that has to do with anything proposed or opposed regarding the Ponte Vista site. I will read it and if I think it isn't too offensive to one side or the other, I will gladly post it. If I do find something I would be reluctant to print, I will contact the author and request a change so I wouldn't go against my "Four R's" commitment for this blog.

So until I post again, be well, be funny, and be good.

M Richards said...

Sorry Kris,
I meant to write Mr. Bisno, but I wrote "Kris" instead.

Tom, I think I am sharing one of your senior moments!

Anonymous said...

Honestly Mark, I think it would be better if you were not tied down to that advisory committee. You could then take a firm stand on R1 and I'm sure you could get many people to back your leadership. We could gather and strategize, just as Bisno is, to help assure the zoning remains R1. I, for one, would help in that cause. Blogs are great, but it seems there needs to be a move to gather and go on the offensive. Bisno is many steps ahead in this battle.

Anonymous said...

Per the LA City Ethics website, as of Quarter 2, 2006, Bisno Development Company LLC has paid the lobbying firm of (former CD-15 councilman) Svornich & Associates $108,403.43 for assistance (Item of Municipal Legislation) for the "Development of Navy Surplus Property in San Pedro."

Regarding the recently passed Measure R (the proposition that lengthened LA City Councilmembers' terms from 2 to 3 for a total of 12 years for which CMs will soon be earning over $170,000 per year) "BDC Ponte Vista Partners LLC" donated $10,000 on 10/19/06 in support of this measure. I assume this is the Bisno group, but am not sure.

M Richards said...

Thanks, Anonymous 10:43 for the information.

Thank you, Anonymous 9:40 PM for your comments as well.

I have considered a number of things lately.

As I wrote earlier, I have drafted a seven page post that explains why I believe maintaining the current zoning at Ponte Vista is the correct thing to do.

I need to do some serious editing of the text so I will be as informational and not too lengthy as I can get it. Seven single-spaced typed pages is much too long of a post to place on this blog.

I granted myself the same opportunity as anyone else to start a blog, and now it is nearing the time where I really lay my cards on the table and let the chips fall where they may.

As I also wrote several posts ago, I was encouraging the formation of groups concerned with the Ponte Vista Development on every side of the issue. I feel it was a call to action for folks who don't want 2,300 homes built inside Ponte Vista, and to other folks considering support in different directions, including the question about SRHS #14.

That post came after the publication of the DEIR because I felt that the time to begin forming groups in opposition to Mr. Bisno's plans were finally given the documentation to base their opposition on, if they felt they needed any.

Currently, petitions are still being circulated demanding only R1 development at Ponte Vista. I have not asked Doug Epperhart yet, whether he has any counts in for the number of folks who have signed the petition. The petition can be downloaded from a post on this blog site.

I would encourage anyone and everyone who want to join or form a group opposing Mr. Bisno's plans to contact Doug Epperhart as Coastal San Pedro Neighborhood
Council's Web can be "googled" or anyone at Northwest San Pedro Neighborhood Council's Web site which I have a link for on this blog. (Sorry folks, I have neglected to link CSPNC, but I will link it soon.)

As to going on the offensive, I feel strongly that supporters of maintaining the current zoning must require Mr. Bisno and his supporters to prove, beyond much doubt, that changing the current zoning is in the best interests of the communities of San Pedro and Rancho Palos Verdes first, and other communities nearby, second.

The burden should fall on the applicant who wishes to change zoning that was established 26 years ago. Mr. Bisno can almost immediately go ahead with constructing up to 429, single-family, detached homes, or nine dwellings per acre of land. Because Mr. Bisno chooses not to propose following the existing zoning, he has the onus to prove his points.

I don't believe a large number of reasonable residents in the area believe that Mr. Bisno will be able to prove that his vision is the correct vision for our community.

O.K., you just have read one of my reasons why the zoning should stay the way it is.

As far as serving on the Advisory Committee, I was honored to be selected by the City Council of Rancho Palos Verdes to represent the interests of my neighbors and my City Government on the committee.

As long as I serve on the committee, I get to ask questions that I feel need to be asked, as if the majority of the residents I represent might want to ask.

I also get to listen and learn from a diverse group of folks who are on many sides of the debate.

Serving on the Committee allows members to have a more listened voice than perhaps, other members of the public.

I wrote a letter to Ms. Hahn and the members of the City Council of Rancho Palos Verdes, informing them that I was interviewed for a possible article, about this blog, in "More San Pedro." The article may never be published, or it may be in this Saturday's edition, or on some other Saturday. I have not read the article, so I have no idea what is reported, or who made comments on it.

I wrote the letter about a month ago and I haven't heard a thing from any of the elected officials I wrote to. I also CC copies of the letter to Mr. Greenwood and Mr. Griego. Neither of them has, at this time, call for me to step down.

I serve at the pleasure of Ms. Hahn and the C.C. members in Rancho Palos Verdes. If they feel I shouldn't serve on the Committee any longer, than I won't serve any longer.

I decided before I agreed to be interviewed that whatever happens to my service on the Committee, this blog will continue to go on.

HOWEVER.....If I am leave the Committee for any reason, the content of posts, after I leave the Committee will drastically change.

I keep the postings the way I do to allow for the greatest dissemination of information in as impartial way that I feel I can.

Not serving on the Committee means I will no longer hold myself to keeping this blog as impartial as I choose to be.

I don't think there is a single person who reads this blog that doesn't know I support the current zoning within the Ponte Vista site. I make it this fact, no secret, which is unlike many members of the Advisory Committee who hold their opinions close to their vests.

If and when I change the content of this blog, it will attract more readers who support maintaining the current zoning at Ponte Vista, and cause probably cause folks who have counted on this blog for as neutral a position as I choose to take, to leave reading this blog.

I still feel I provide a service to the entire community by repeatedly requesting postings from contributors, Like Tom and Kris, who don't agree with my position, but have the guts and brains to present their opinions on this blog, and to be read by all.

I would probably loose postings from folks who favor a zoning change. I would probably loose folks who read this blog but still feel neutral to all sides of the issue.

I think people come to this blog to learn as much of the truth as we all can provide. Anonymous 10:43 PM gave all of us information that we didn't know, and sharing of facts are crucial if we are to make the best recommendations and have the most well informed opinions.

Nobody can say that pontevista.com has provide more factual information on both sides of the argument as this blog has.

Nobody should claim that this blog is not as "Pro R1" as Life on the Edge. Both sites are critical to the debate because they offer starkly different views concerning the project. I read Life on the Edge every day and I suggest everyone else does, too. Calamari and Banditos Yanquis have a site where like-minded (and correct thinking) folks can go who oppose Mr. Bisno's plans.

This blog is intentionally different than pontevista.com and Life on the Edge. Both are sites I think everyone should gather information from, but they both are very one-sides, as they should be, too.

Now please, thank you all for reading my extremely long posts and way too lengthy comments.

If I don't respond to direct or indirect comments until Saturday, imagine I am writing another letter to Mr. Jonathan Riker (you should do this, too) or I am attempting to get my "WISR1APV" down to a readable size.

Oh, and another thing, we all need to get some sleep!

Anonymous said...

Agreed Mark; your blog has the best factual information on the development of the former Navy property off Western.

On another note, regarding your 7-page draft, if you can (and this will be a good writing exercise) when you're done, why don't you cut it down to a synopsis with about 700 words or so and submit it to the Daily Breeze as an Op-ed piece (NOT a letter to the editor). Just a thought in case you haven't done this already. If you can't or won't do this while you're a member of the Committee, understandable.

M Richards said...

Thanks Anonymous 8:43 AM for your comments.

I rewrote the 7-page draft and got it down to just under two pages. It doesn't contain the details of my conclusions, they will appear in future posts.

The new draft is 842 words long. It can easily be decreased in size to fit into an op-ed format. Thank you for your advise.

The article Dennis Lim wrote about this blog did not appear in my MORE SAN PEDRO insert of the Daily Breeze today. It may appear in a future MORE, if there are any, or it may never appear. I won't sweat it one bit.

I'm off to join others on the second tour of developments. I'll report about today's journey this weekend.